7 Quick Hit Changes to Make Life Better – Starting Now

by Alli Polin on March 17, 2015

someone else's measuring stick

You wake up early, race to work, meetings all day, come home, “real life” awaits and does not care that you’re tired… and stressed.  Family, friends, laundry all are calling your name and all you want to do is crash on the couch and stare at the television and forget about work for a while.  Maybe, if you’re not a TV person, it’s a book, or browsing the internet, but at the end of the day you long to sit, not continue to race.

Days can be a blur.  

My clients describe it as:

Stressful…

Manic…

Unsustainable…

Exhausting…

When people come to me, they realize that they are choosing the race for success over a sustainable, fulfilling, joyful and meaningful life. 

I get it.  I’ve been there too.  Who am I kidding? I’m still there… change is a process, not a light switch

There are absolutely long term changes that will enable you to create the life you love, but what can you do now?  Everyone likes quick hits to jumpstart progress and make life better.  Here are seven pain points I often hear from clients and some quick hit solutions you can put in place today.

7 Quick Hit Changes That Will Create Remarkable Results in Your Life & Leadership:

1) I’m Always Getting Crazy Angry and Losing My Temper

Kid’s room a disaster? Check! Team member is coming dangerously close to a deadline? Check! You’re stressed and your dog decides to do his business in the middle of the dining room? Enough! You blow your fuze. 

Recent studies from the University of Sydney show that getting so angry that you want to burst can increase your risk of heart attack by eight fold. Add anxiety to the mix and you’re looking at an even higher risk. 

Quick Hit Change: 

Instead of hitting your boiling point daily, identify some coping strategies that work for you. Deep breathing, taking a walk, counting to ten, positive self talk… Here’s the key: Use them. 

2) I Really Want It, but It’s Just Too Hard

I hear it all.  Here’s a sampling what clients tell me:

  • I want to write a book but I don’t have the time.  It’s a foolish dream. 
  • Starting my own business sounds awesome, but awesome won’t pay the bills. 
  • Running a marathon would be amazing but the only time I run these days is from my car to the office, if it’s raining.  

Quick Hit Change: 

What gets scheduled gets done.  Wishing, hoping and yearning alone will not create change.  Block the time on your calendar and make it sacred time.  Use a setting that keeps the details private – it sends the message that it’s not up for debate.

3) Not Everyone Likes Me… and It’s Eating Me Alive. 

When Jack and I started working together, all he wanted was for Brady on the BD team to see how awesome he was and to like him. He was obsessed. Jack spent hours crafting emails, popping by his office and doing his best to make Brady look good. Unfortunately, despite his efforts, Brady never invited him for drinks, included him in closed door meetings or gave him high fives while walking down the hall.  

Quick Hit Change:

Remain professional and move on. Not everyone in your company, on your team or even on your street will be your BFF… or even your F.  It’s a fact of life.  Continue to do great work and surround yourself with your supporters instead of putting all of your energy into cold fish. 

4) Wearing Your Laptop Like a Fashion Accessory?

You’re at the office all day and when you arrive home you immediately open your personal laptop to decompress.  Maybe you look at sports scores or shopping sites or read the newspaper online… maybe your significant other can’t remember the last time you made eye contact because your eyes are always glued to your computer screen. 

Quick Hit Change: 

Not going to sugar coat this one.  Close your laptop.  Turn off your iPad.  Stick your phone in a drawer.  Make the intentional choice to be in the room with the other people in the room, not lost in a screen.  Boundaries and communication are key.  Try something like: “I’m going to browse for another 30 minutes but then I’ll close my laptop and I’m all yours.”

5) My Boss Hates My Work

My client started our call by telling me how his boss tore apart his latest proposal.  He was so excited about the potential, been working hard and enjoying every moment… until his boss told him it was bad.  The problem is that he didn’t hear “your presentation is bad,” he heard, “you’re bad.” During our call, he quietly shared he was thinking about looking for a new job. 

Quick Hit Change: 

If you fail, you’re not a failure. If your boss doesn’t like your presentation, it doesn’t mean they don’t believe in you.  Instead of going into a corner to sulk,  talk about it. Be brave and set up a conversation to understand strengths, challenges and opportunities for improvement. You may not be as far from success as you think. 

6) Losing at a Game of Dueling “ESP” 

Meg, another client, is sure that her neighbor doesn’t like her any more. She’s not as friendly and doesn’t wave… so she stopped waving. It’s gotten to the point where she gets angry every time she sees her. “Who is she to hate me? I didn’t do anything! She’s the worst!”

Quick Hit Change: 

Instead of horribilizing someone and making up stories about what they must be thinking, choose a heart at peace. Instead of looking at them with hate, take a moment to ask how they may be seeing you based on your words and actions. Anything you want to change?

7) I Never Use My PTO – It’s Never a Good Time

Hello!  Paid time off!  I know far too many people who are proud that they never take a day off – they are committed!  Personally, I think they’re nuts.  They’re stressed, they spend minimal time with family and friends and are the ones who get the rest of the office sick when they drag their sorry asses into the office when they should take a sick day.

Quick Hit Change:

Take a day off. Call it a mental health day if you don’t want to call it a vacation  day.  No excuses and do it ASAP.  Want to take it a step further, take a three day weekend and go somewhere… do something that brings you joy.  When you make time for joy out of work, it also re-energizes you to do and be your best at the office. What are you waiting for?  Go!

You CAN have a full life and professional success.  Small actions can make a big difference along the way.  These quick hit changes can help you turn exhaustion into energy as you work towards creating a life of meaning – at home and at the office. 

Any quick hit changes to make life better that have worked for you?  Please add them here!

If you’re feeling stuck and ready to make a change, the eCourse Get Unstuck and Choose to Move is for you.  PS. The Get Unstuck personal change and group accountability program launching soon! 

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Jon Mertz March 17, 2015 at 7:15 am

Alli,

Great ways to get started in making a change. I am a fan of Tiny Habits, taking the small steps to achieve big changes. For example, turning off all connected electronics every Friday evening leads to unplugging on Saturday. By being disconnected, we focus more on what is in our homes and neighborhoods and engage in refreshed ways when all is turned on again.

Great tips to change our ways… thanks for helping us keep personal change alive!

Jon

Reply

Alli Polin March 18, 2015 at 1:07 am

Thanks, Jon. Love the way you put it – Tiny Habits. Starting small really does enable us to expand – with a lot less pain and a lot more likelihood of sustainability than one huge leap.

Many thanks for your great example!

~ Alli

Reply

Terri Klass March 17, 2015 at 11:20 am

Excellent post, Alli and so helpful!

I love: “If you fail, you’re not a failure. If your boss doesn’t like your presentation, it doesn’t mean they don’t believe in you.” We sometimes can’t differentiate ourselves from the project or task we are working on. I hear this comment in so many of my workshops. I always respond by reminding leaders that one project doesn’t make a career. We learn the most from our mistakes and missteps. When I fell on my face in one of my early presentations, (not literally), I left thinking about what I could have done differently. And that is what I did the next time.

I think we have to stop feeling everyone is constantly judging us. We are all human beings trying to do well.

Thanks for another great, thought-provoking post, Alli! I am going to share this with some of my colleagues!

Reply

Alli Polin March 18, 2015 at 1:09 am

Terri – I agree! One project doesn’t make a career. A family friend who is now retired had a stellar career and his last project was largely a struggle and some might say it was a failure. Unfortunately, it has colored his perspective of his 40 year career!

Your personal story also illustrates how we can turn a sting into fuel us towards future success. Grateful you shared it here!

Appreciate you, Terri!

Reply

LaRae Quy March 17, 2015 at 11:33 am

This is a brilliant post, Alli! Now I see why you rank so high on a google search for personal leadership consultant!

Love this one: Stop wearing your laptop as a fashion accessory! Those “Quick Hit Changes” are priceless…and very good common sense recommendations on how to make life better!

Reply

Alli Polin March 18, 2015 at 1:11 am

Common sense is often overlooked in those moments of stress. We get too caught up in the whirlwind to realize that we do have some very do-able and empowering choices right in front of us.

Thanks, LaRae!

Reply

John Bennett March 17, 2015 at 12:06 pm

It’s almost always so obvious: It’s the CHOICES we make… I’d guess I’ve included the suggestion in other comments to this blog but I’ll mention it here too. Everyone should consider (http://johncbennettjr.com ) the messages in the late William Glasser’s book, “Choice Theory.” Overly simplifying for sure, he maintains we all carry pictures in our head and make decisions (choices) based upon those pictures. We need to start by revisiting those pictures!

Reply

Alli Polin March 18, 2015 at 1:12 am

You know I’m a HUGE fan of choice, John!! Choice theory sounds fascinating. Reminds me of when we think our current perspective is the only way of seeing the world but when we shift to a new one, possibilities open up despite the fact that our circumstances have not changed.

Thanks for sharing William Glasser’s book! Going on my list!

Reply

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™ March 17, 2015 at 1:37 pm

Oh I like the “quick hit” approach on this. Sometimes we make things so complicated when in truth — the simple truth is staring us in the face.

Great post Alli. I will be sharing this for sure. You are the “change blogger!”

So grateful for your posts,
Kate

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Reply

Alli Polin March 18, 2015 at 1:14 am

Right on, Kate! The simple truth. In a world filled with complexity there are really simple actions we can take to change the way we experience and interact with the world around us.

Very much appreciate your kind words too.

Reply

Andrea Corcoran March 17, 2015 at 9:23 pm

Great 7 tips. Always find it interesting how we can become so concerned about what others think of us, and we allow that to set our behaviour.

Reply

Alli Polin March 18, 2015 at 1:15 am

Welcome, Andrea! It’s wild, isn’t it? How we spend our days worrying about everyone else’s perceptions and then choose our actions … instead of acting from a place of integrity, authenticity and vulnerability. It’s hard for so many (including myself at times!)

Thanks so much for your comment!

Reply

Carl March 18, 2015 at 7:05 am

Echoing the applauds from everyone – great post Alli

Focusing on #1 –
I’ve worked with many people on anger issues – We know what it feels like just before we go ‘nuclear’ and meltdown. So the trick is to lower that threshold – just as we set the thermostat in our homes to keep the temperature comfortable – set the anger/stress thermostat to a level to keep you comfortable.
When you feel it climbing, intervene before you reach the meltdown stage.

As always, highest regards for your work,
Carl
@SparktheAction

Reply

Alli Polin March 18, 2015 at 8:33 am

Great advice, Carl. I was just talking to someone about why it is so important to figure out your signs… When I’m getting angry… I feel, I do, I say, I think. Know the signs and intervene. Love the way you put it.

Many thanks to you, Carl!

Reply

Tom Rhodes March 18, 2015 at 7:08 am

Alli,
Thanks for the reminder that I need to take some time to relax and read your wonderful posts. New jobs always have you wanting to make an impression, at the same time exhausting yourself doesn’t show leadership it shows obsession. Be left in self and your abilities is always a better path to where you want to go.

Thanks for all you do.
Tom

Reply

Alli Polin March 18, 2015 at 8:36 am

Hope you’re loving your new job, Tom! I appreciate that you took the time to read this post and comment too. I’ve missed your wisdom and this is spot on… pushing yourself to the edge “doesn’t show leadership it shows obsession.”

Appreciate the grounded focus you bring to living your leadership. Honest, authentic and always other focused. Glad you’re taking time for yourself too.

Best,

Alli

Reply

Peter McKelvie March 19, 2015 at 1:11 am

Great post Alli. Particularly like the “Not Everyone Likes Me… and It’s Eating Me Alive.” Not sure that eats me alive, but I do spend to much time worrying about who likes me. Better just to be genuine and believe in yourself.

Pete

Reply

Alli Polin March 19, 2015 at 4:13 am

Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Pete! Like you, I spend too much time on that as well. I think it’s a part of being human. However, over the years I’ve learned that when I’m living with integrity and being true to myself, I worry a heck of a lot less.

Here’s to being genuine and believing in ourselves!

~ Alli

Reply

Chery Gegelman March 19, 2015 at 9:54 pm

Awesome post!

I love the way you consistently honor the whole person by weaving leadership, family, and personal growth stories and lessons together.

Your second point was a needed reminder!

Thank you!

Reply

Alli Polin March 19, 2015 at 10:07 pm

Thanks, Chery! It’s easy to forget that we all crave full, robust lives which is oftentimes a challenge with an intense focus on the road to success. It’s kind of like when we were kids and thought that teachers lived at the school…. strong leaders don’t only live at the office.

Appreciate your comment and connection!

Reply

Yatin March 19, 2015 at 10:32 pm

Hi Alli
Visiting your page for the first time and I am loving it. I really love the name of your page.
Coming back to the post, I completely agree with all your points. Sometimes, we get so crazy after somethings that we are not able to detach ourselves from them. In that process, we lose our temper. We forget the basic thing: We are the Problem and we are the Solution
“If it’s really worth having, it’s worth the effort it takes to get it”. What a wonderful line,Alli. We create cobwebs for ourselves by thinking in a negative manner.
Thanks for sharing wonderful points. I will keep all the points close to my heart and will implement them in my personal life.

Reply

Alli Polin March 20, 2015 at 6:15 am

Yatin,

Thank you so much for your comment and for reading the blog! Welcome!

This is incredibly powerful to remember: We are the problem and we are the solution. It gets to the heart of choice and our role in… everything!

Appreciate your wisdom. Look forward to more.

~ Alli

Reply

Cancel reply

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }